Every regular television viewer has an opinion about what ought to be on the tube. For the next two days, people in the Columbia area can actually turn opinion into action.
Columbia Access Television, the month-old community access channel, is inviting people who think they’ve got some bright ideas for television shows and those interested in the technical side of making them to attend the first monthly orientation on creating a TV show.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. today in Helis Communication Center at Stephens College, 1405 E. Broadway. It will include a tour of the college’s production facilities and an overview of the guidelines and procedures for working with CAT. A survey will be administered to assess participants’ skills and interests.
CAT, which airs on Mediacom channel 3, has enough programming for 11 hours a day — 8 a.m. to noon and 4 to 11 p.m. About 25 percent of it is locally produced, said Beth Federici, president of the CAT board of directors, but she would like to see those numbers increase. At times with no programming, a community bulletin board appears on the screen.
Locally produced shows so far include a Christian rock show and a comedy and variety show hosted by MU students. A children’s theater show has been produced by Theatre Reaching Young People in Schools.
Evenings are dominated by live music or taped concerts from local bands. The rest is programming from Jefferson City’s public access television station and other free content from around the country, Federici said.
Federici said people tend to be less disparaging about television if they play a role in determining its content. “It’s amazing what having your own show will do,” she said. “A lot of people go out and get cable who never thought they would.”
Federici said she expects to get ideas for a lot of issue-oriented talk shows from concerned citizens and local organizations, but the station is interested in just about any idea. She said she would also like to see some independent films on the channel.
People shouldn’t be discouraged by a lack of technical knowledge if they have a good idea because CAT is willing to teach them how to use the equipment, Federici said.
“Everybody’s got a show in the back of their mind that they think would be good,” Federici said. “Now’s the chance for them to go ahead and make it happen.”
More information and a current programming schedule are available at www.cat3.tv. Future orientations will take place twice a month on weeknights and Saturday mornings.